Volkswagen Commercial Controversy – Is It Racist?

So unless you’ve been living under a humongous rock for the last few days or you’ve been buried under work like me, you’ve probably seen the commercial and heard the controversies behind it. VW released two new commercials promoting their brand just about a week ago, in preparation for the SuperBowl.

(watch commercials here: // )

The first ad features Jamaican reggae artist Jimmy Cliff singing and dancing and pretty much just saying how happy he is and that everyone else should get happy.

The second ad features a Caucasian man at his office, going around to different cubicles and cheering up his colleagues by speaking in a Jamaican accent.

The point of both ads is just to emphasize that with Volkswagen they’ll always be happy…like Jamaicans.

Somehow implying that Jamaicans are happy is suddenly a bad thing and even a racist thing. I find this a bit funny since of ALL the stereotypes you hear of Jamaicans this is one of the few ones that are pretty close to being accurate. As a Jamaican I think I hold the right to say well done VW, you are one step closer to getting it right.

What is even more hilarious is the fact that majority of Jamaicans really like the ad. They think it’s funny and quite flattering. The people making the most noise about the ad are Caucasian-Americans and media houses.

VW is now thinking of pulling the ads due to the negative international feedback the ads are getting.

Question: if the people the ad is imitating don’t find it offensive why do americans feel the need to make this such a HUGE issue? I just dont get it. The U.S. has a habit of always trying to jump to people’s rescue even when they don’t want/need to be rescued.

People imitate Jamaicans ALL THE TIME. We don’t make a big deal out of it! We have other issues to worry about (like trying to stay happy while our dollar is sliding and our rising crime rate). As a Jamaican and an ad major I can say I personally love the ad. It’s funny and has a great concept. VW- get happy. Simple, to the point and punchy. NOT offensive.


2 thoughts on “Volkswagen Commercial Controversy – Is It Racist?

  1. I don’t think the ad is racist-I just think it’s stupid. They should stick with kids and dogs-but hey, I’m over 50, female, and have no interest in owning a vw beetle, so the ad was probably not designed to be of interest to me-I didn’t see many people who looked like me in the ad. Of course, I don’t like the Three Stooges either, and some people, maybe the same ones who think this is funny, think they are hilarious.

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